Weight loss is always one of the resolutions for the new year. Now that the clock has struck midnight and the year 2011 has begun, experts say that many people use this time to make a fresh start -- and part of making that fresh start is to lose weight.
There are many ways to lose that weight, but local experts all agree that there are basic things people can do to be successful -- eat right, exercise and modify bad behaviors.
Fitness expert and personal trainer Ingram Johnson, owner of Move2Melt Studio, said people who want to lose weight as a resolution going into 2011 just need to use common sense.
"In order for weight loss to be long-lasting, you have to make permanent changes, not just do without carbs or cut out sugar, because the minute you go back to eating the way you did before, you are going to put the weight back on. If you make small changes on a regular basis they add up -- like one week you cut back on soda and the next week you cut back on soda and some sugar. You don't want to eliminate every thing all at once because you are not going to be successful that way," said Johnson.
Johnson warned against going on fad diets that eliminate certain foods from the diet entirely. She said those diets are typically not nutritionally sound and won't work over a long period of time.
"Sure anybody can cut out something and drop 10 pounds in a couple of weeks, but the minute you go back to those old habits, the weight is going to come right back," said Johnson.She said a realistic weight loss goal is about two pounds a week."In order to keep it off, slow and steady is the name of the game," said Johnson.Johnson teaches a "boot camp" style class before her Zumba classes on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. The boot camp class is 15 minutes before classes on those days and focuses on strength training."Lean muscle mass is definitely what's going to help you burn more calories at rest," said Johnson.She said many women are afraid to weight train because they fear "bulking up." But, she said, that's not the case because women don't have enough testosterone in their bodies to bulk up."When you lift weights, it helps a variety of things. It helps prevent osteoporosis, it makes you stronger. If you take a 150 pound woman who lifts weights verses a 150 pound woman who does not, the woman who strength trains will look leaner, firmer, younger and more fit than her counterpart who does not. Lean muscle mass takes up less space in your body. It's the fountain of youth to do strength training."Johnson said just doing something is better than nothing at all.
"If you are in your kitchen and you can squeeze in 25 squats while you are fixing dinner, that's better than doing nothing at all," she said.She said that doing cardio-type exercise is also important in any fitness plan. She said it helps improve your heart rate and prevent cardiovascular disease. She said heart disease is the number one killer of woman."You've got to get your heart rate up. You've got to work up a good sweat every day and the cool thing about it, other then helping manage your weight, is that it helps release these things in your brain called endorphins, or mood elevators, that make you feel happy and helps relieve stress," said Johnson.She said most people brush their teeth and take a shower every day, but she said physical fitness is just as important as those other daily routines."You don't need to skip your workout, it's just as crucial if not more crucial to your well-being and overall health. I don't consider it a day unless I've done something physical," said Johnson."Everybody can fit in some type of physical activity and improve their eating habits. Small changes lead to big changes over a lifetime, but you've got to have fun while you do it," said Johnson.Dr. David Majure with the Majure Skin Care and Wellness center said the bottom line is that Americans tend to take in more than they burn. He said from the 1970s to the 1990s the per capita calorie intake increased by 200 kilocalories per day, which actually represents 1,000 true calories of energy. He said that adds up to an extra pound of weight every 17 to 18 days.
He said in order to lose weight, there has to be a calorie deficit below basal metabolic requirements (BMI)."Most of us over the age of 30 are not going to lose weight with exercise alone. We do need that to maintain it as a part of an overall program, but no matter whose program we use, or however we get to our goal weight, if people aren't working on changing behavior from that starting point to that end point they are going to gain it back. That is the bottom line for people to lose it and maintain it, we have got to work on changing behavior. Even people who have had Bariatric surgery, if they don't change behavior, they gain it back," said Majure.He said those looking to lose weight in the new year need to go on a low calorie diet, which is between 800 to 1,200 calories a day. He said there are three key things to do when trying to lose weight -- changing behaviors, exercise and eating right.Majure said that eating too many sweets has been America's biggest downfall when it comes to being overweight."Carbs in this country are probably our biggest enemy. Processed carbs and processed sugars, all of the good stuff, the soluble fiber, the things that were present in the things we would gather or grow, those are virtually nonexistent in the carbs we consume in this country. We would prefer more complex carbs or sugars, things that are higher in fiber are better," said Majure.
He said the six to one rule is a good one to follow, meaning that if a person eats something with 24 grams of carbs and four grams of fiber, it fits into that rule. He said eating whole wheat bread is a good example of that.Another way to help keep that New Year's resolution is to cut portions, he said."Portion sizes are ridiculous in this country. If we are somewhere where we can serve our own plate, don't let food touch on your plate, or use a smaller plate. Eat slowly. On average it takes 10 to 12 minutes for the receptors in our stomach to tell our brain that we are full. Eating slowly gives you a chance to do that."He said that by the time people fill physically stuffed, they have overeaten."We were all born with that innate reflect. You cannot make a 2-year-old child eat when it's full. When it's full you put one more bite in, they spit it out. But around 5-years-old our brains, we start learning how to rationalize and reason and someone taught us that you can continue to eat after you are no longer hungry because if you want dessert or you want to go out and play, you have to clean your plate. You learned that you can continue to eat and that along with our lifestyle, marketing, our portions have just grown and grown, so now we eat until we feel full, plus with the American lifestyle where we are always eating fast. If you have to eat fast, it's so important to control the portion," said Majure.
He said eating smaller meals more often is a better solution and that's how the body was designed to work. And, he said the fastest way to lose weight is to cut back on liquid calories such as soda.Majure stressed that being accountable is another way to lose weight without making a major change."Most people will underestimate the amount of calories they consume by 40 to 50 percent. And it's not that they lying to themselves, these are calories that never crossed your mind. You are looking out the window while mixing up spinach dip, which is high in calories, and they eat two spoonfuls while they are talking on the phone. They just stuck 500 calories in their mouth without thinking about it."He said studies have been done that show that when people do nothing else but keep a food diary, they lost weight. He said even if you say what you are eating out loud, that is one way of becoming accountable.One of the points he wanted to make is that it is OK to waste food. He said it is far less expensive to waste food than to pay the doctor bills down the road.Majure said he is passionate about weight loss and wants to help his patients get healthy."It really is simple, but just because something is simple doesn't mean it's easy. The hardest thing for any of us to do is to change behavior."
Carla Majure, general manager of Majure Skin Care and Wellness center, helps clients lose weight through behavior modifications, exercise, eating right and even through the use of medications."We believe that there is not any kind of magic shot or pill. If there were a magic shot or pill then the FDA would have given it to basically everyone in the United States and we would have solved most of our health care issues a long time ago. A large percentage of the health care cost is due to diabetes, high blood pressure -- a lot of chronic health care issues that we have are due to the fact that we are overweight," said Majure.When patients come into their center, they do a full medical assessment --everything from an EKG to a family history and check of their metabolism. A patient is evaluated to see how much of their body is made up of fat, water and muscle."What's different about medical versus regular weight loss is the fact that we go through your health history, your family's history, we do the EKG, we make all of these decisions based on that history to determine whether or not they are healthy enough to take an appetite suppressant? Can they really eat this low calorie diet? Is it going to be healthy and safe?"Majure said they work with their patients on identifying triggers that are causing them to overeat, so that when they lose the weight they can keep it off. She said she believes a patient should be able to eat anything they want to eat in moderation.
She said one of the mistakes that she's seen in her clients is that they may have a slip up one day and then let that turn into days and weeks of going off the behavior modification program."Two months later they wake up and realize that they've gained five pounds back. If you just acknowledge the fact that you went to a party and had a really good time and 'I overate, but today I've got to get back on my plan,' it's OK," she said.While exercise is a vital part of the Majure's weight-loss program, she encourages people to do what they can every day."Some people can't get to the gym every day. It's easy to stand back and say you need to do this many minutes of exercise so many days of the week. But some people for whatever reason, with work schedules and kids, it's impossible to be able to find that time every day. So we recommend that our clients do four 10-minute sessions a day even if it means getting up from your desk and doing a set of push ups and sit ups or running in place for a few minutes -- anything to get your heart rate up. We also encourage people to do weight-bearing exercises that are raising your heart rate, but it is also helping you build lean muscle mass. If you will do that in itself you will have remarkable results."In January, the Majure Skin Care and Wellness center is re-launching their medical weight-loss program. She said they had to put the program on the back-burner last year because the walk-in clinic took off so fast, but they have added some room and will soon be opening the Majure Medical Weight Loss center.